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The student news site of Colonia High School

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Explaining the book “Heaven is For Real”

based on a true story, this book gives comfort and hope to people missing a loved one or wanting to believe in heaven.
Photo Credit: photo by Olivia Bryant used with permission
based on a true story, this book gives comfort and hope to people missing a loved one or wanting to believe in heaven.

This book, Heaven is For Real, was written by Lyn Vincent. This book is a read suggested for kids ages 10 and up. It was published on October 31, 2010, by Thomas Nelson. Out of a 5-star scale and over 16,000 ratings, the book has 4.7. This is a short but sweet book, having only 163 pages. Lynn Vincent is the New York Times best-selling writer of this book (Heaven is For Real) and Same Kind of Different As Me. Vincent has sold 12 million copies of his books ever since 2006. She worked as a writer and editor for eleven years at the national news biweekly WORLD magazine. Besides being an author and writer, she is also a U.S. Navy veteran.

Based on a true story

This book is based on the true story of the Burpo family and their 4-year-old son at the time, Colby. Todd Burpo is a pastor of Crossroads Wesleyan and volunteers as a fireman. He is married to Sonja Burpo and they have four children, Colton, Cassie, Colby, and an exceptional sister that Colby met in heaven. Sonja is a busy mom, the wife of a pastor, and a certified elementary teacher. She is passionate about children’s ministry and helps other women get through the hard times of a miscarriage.

Book summary

This true story is about a couple who nearly lost their four-year-old son during emergency surgery. This little boy, Colton, had an appendix that exploded and it wasn’t looking too good. After his recovery from surgery, he starts talking about heaven and Jesus. Without a doubt, his parents start questioning him and asking how he knew all this because they hadn’t taught him. He starts sharing stories of events, like that he met his sister he never knew he had. His mom did have a miscarriage, but they never told him about it. He talks about his grandfather who had died years before Colton was born. Following the story, he also says things that are in the Bible that he also has never read. He helps a lot of people throughout the story by sharing his experiences.


People get very moved by this book because of how detailed it is.

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One reviewer, Donna Dewitt-Schnell on Amazon said, “having just experienced my husband’s, Tom, passing, I found the descriptions by Colton of the death experience to be very comforting. This little boy was able to lift me from a feeling of deep separation from Tom, to feeling Tom’s comforting presence. In the Burpo’s’ angst in the Colton’s illness arose much spiritual understanding and hope in life everlasting. Colton made death as normal as getting an ice cream cone on a Saturday afternoon. We are right now planning my husband’s memorial and I approach it with greater joy than I could have imagined.”

After reading something so detailed, a lot of people don’t want to believe it. Obviously, people think that the parents just told Colton what to say to become popular.

Tami Schmidt who had given this book one star said, “This book is strictly fiction, and I was extremely disappointed. This boy is the son of a minister. At near four yrs old kids pick up info like a sponge, and that’s what’s happened here…..And what really got me was when he screamed in a funeral home until his parents had to remove him, that if the dead man didn’t accept Christ he would go to hell.”

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Explaining the book “Heaven is For Real”